Giants offense = West Coast
It’s important to immediately note that Kevin Gilbride is no longer the offensive coordinator for the New York Football Giants offense.
Because the Giants are no longer running a Run and Shoot Offense, and Gilbride “resigned” from his OC position during last year’s freefall. Nowadays, Ben McAdoo is the OC, and with him comes the addition and current installation of the West Coast Offense. A tricky NFL term that often has fans conjuring up images of great receivers going deep, à la Jerry Rice in the 1980’s.
Understand though, that these are two very different options. In the run and shoot, receivers are free to change their routes based on the defenses, with movement before the play that influences routes run. It is not a timing based system, it is a system that uses WR motions prior to the snap, depending on the defenses actions. The idea is to spread the offense across the field and aim for mismatches after effective consecutive passing plays, theoretically, opening up lanes for a bruising running game or a scat back play to the outside. The offense adjusts to the defense and relies on spreading the field to help open up clean passing lanes. The trouble with the run and shoot on paper is that the closer a teams gets to the end zone, the less field room they have to spread the defense, effectively making the red zone offense harder to execute.
The West Coast Offense is fundamentally different, a team that runs the WCO is looking to make the defense adjust to the offense. The motions prior to the snap make the WCO look similar, but the concepts are different. Ideally, every play in the WCO system sees five routes ran. Whether by all receivers, or a combination of TE/FB/RB… If an audible is made, it’s made pre-snap, but the routes still have a planned pattern. On paper, the idea is to have the QB know where his receivers are supposed to be on any given play, there’s little ad-libbing in the WCO until the play breaks down and the WR’s move towards the QB or move on to to custom blocking assignments vs real time decision making based on what the defense is doing.
Basically, for the West Coast Offense to work, the Giants must practice, practice, practice until they build a solid chemistry; wherein everyone on the offense trusts each other and knows their assignments. Today, at NFL.com, OC Ben McAdoo was quoted as saying players should take a ‘Leap of Faith” in the Giants new system:
Coordinator Ben McAdoo knows everyone from fans to his players want to see the offense fully fleshed out.
“You’d like to have that every time you step on the field, but that’s not going to be the case,” McAdoo said, per the New York Daily News. “But at the same point in time, we need to take that leap of faith.”
The thing is, the G-Men have only played two preseason games and they struggled with health in a few key areas, such as Odell Beckham Jr. and his storied hamstring saga. That said, even with the full health of the roster, it will take awhile to install a new offense. Kevin Gilbride was long tenured with Eli Manning and he’s set in his ways. Changing an offense like that after eight seasons is akin to breaking your arm and trying to write with the opposite hand. It can be done, but it’s not a easy process and you’re not writing in cursive, even after a week. It takes time.
Ben McAdoo asking for a “leap of faith” is fun, it’s quaint, but it’s unnecessary. Because of the differences between these two offenses fundamentally, fans should be under the impression and assumption that this will take a while. Sure, the Giants have three more preseason games to grind out the kinks, but in football it often takes more than one season to make such a monumental change effective and efficient against NFL level defenses.
That’s not negativity, it’s just the nature of the sport you love. The West Coast Offense is a great system, but it’s great for a reason — it’s extremely complex and totally dependent on the team being… well… a team. The Giants must continue to learn the system and practice to the best of their ability, not just take a “leap of faith’ that it’ll magically come together come Detroit.